With the digital era upon us, there are countless games across Facebook, iOS, Android and more, and these platforms each use a different rating system. On top of that, different countries have different content ratings in the console/PC games space. It's a situation that could really benefit from a universally adopted system, says EA boss John Riccitiello.
"We live in an incredible age. In the past three years the audience for games has grown from roughly 200 million, to over one billion. Virtually everyone on the planet who owns a phone, can play a game. The Supreme Court has given us the same First Amendment rights as authors, musicians and film makers - a set of rights which we cherish. But as we are so often told: With great freedom, comes great responsibility. To live up to that responsibility, we need to do a better job informing the consumer, no matter the channel, the platform or the geography. We must adopt a self-regulated, global rating system across every format games are played on," he told politicians in Washington, D.C. last night, including the FCC Commissioner and Chairman.
Riccitiello's comments came as part of an acceptance speech for the Media Institute's annual American Horizon Award, which he won for his "visionary leadership in promoting the vitality and independence of his industry."
"We're at a point in history when we've never been so free to create and distribute content," Riccitiello continued. "But we're also at a point when we need to update the way we inform consumers. Consumers are finding many new places to get their games - Facebook, Google, Apple, as well as services like Steam and Origin. Most have a rating system, but none are consistent. Consequently, we are confusing the consumer."
Patricia Vance, head of the ESRB in the US, has said that she's working with other ratings bodies around the world to create a global system, and Riccitiello noted that it's still being developed with the cooperation of the different rating boards.
"We must move beyond the alphabet soup of game ratings and consolidate behind a single standard that consumers will recognize and, ultimately, demand," Riccitiello concluded.